Debbie Downer is a term used to describe someone with a tendency to be the bearer of bad news and negativity. Debbie Downers can be found in every sphere of life, of all backgrounds. Her presence in any group or conversation puts an abrupt end to any happiness and enthusiasm of those involved. She is critical of herself and others, and fails to see why people can be happy about anything when there is so much to worry about. Bob Bummer is the male equivalent of Debbie Downer and is equally depressed and depressing.
Debbie Downer isn’t just negative: she is a pessimist to the core. She can see the downside to anything and won’t hesitate to mention it. If there isn’t a problem, she’ll create one — nothing is impossible. Debbie Downer plans for the worse and finds comfort in her negative mindset.
Most Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers don’t realize how discouraging they are to themselves and others. Instead they believe that they are only being realistic and everyone else is impractical and delusional. Only they know the truth of the situation, others can’t or won’t see what’s really going on.
Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers are not readily noticeable; they look and act like others do. But if you spend just a few minutes with them you’ll be sure to notice their negative mindset. Debbie Downer or Bob Bummer will say or do several of the following:
- Proclaim any and all of your plans unrealistic and think of possible obstacles you hadn’t thought of and aren’t likely to happen
- In the middle of your mentioning something positive that happened, remind you of something negative that occurred or will occur
- Add “We have to look at both sides of the situation”, “You forgot to add that…”, or a similar statement to decrease the positivity or enthusiasm of the atmosphere
- Criticize anything or anyone who would bring happiness to a situation
- Talk about how terrible their life is and has been, usually adding more than once that life in general is hard and depressing
- Begin most conversations by bringing up something negative that happened to them or in the world recently
- Have a skeptical expression on their face or frown as soon as a conversation begins
Despite their negativity Debbie Downers, Bob Bummers, and similar people are not without friends. Some people mistake their negativity for realism or believe that their depressing outlook will be lifted after some time. Neither is true: Debbie, Bob, and Co. are not realistic, but pessimistic. And their troubles will never end because their existence depends on them — when one issue passes, they find something else.
Unless you’re a Debbie Downer, Bob Bummer or similar character the best thing to do is keep your interaction with them to a minimum. Their dejection can be contagious.